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Biden, Modi to meet virtually Monday over Ukraine

US President Joe Biden will meet virtually Monday with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, weeks after Biden said India has been "shaky" in its response to the invasion of Ukraine.

US President Joe Biden (C) holds a palm frond as he departs church service at St. Joseph on the Brandywine Catholic Church in Wilmington, Delaware, on April 9, 2022. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP)

US President Joe Biden will meet virtually Monday with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, weeks after Biden said India has been “shaky” in its response to the invasion of Ukraine.

Biden will use the talks to continue “close consultations on the consequences of Russia’s brutal war against Ukraine and mitigating its destabilizing impact on global food supply and commodity markets,” his spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, said in a statement Sunday.

The two leaders failed to reach a joint condemnation of the Russian invasion when they last spoke in early March at a meeting of the so-called “Quad” alliance, which includes the United States, India, Australia and Japan.

India has so far refused to join the votes condemning Moscow at the United Nations General Assembly, while saying it was deeply disturbed by the alleged killings of civilians by Russian troops in the town of Bucha in Ukraine.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who met with Modi in New Delhi in early April, has praised India for its approach to the conflict.

Biden said on March 21 that India was an exception among Washington’s allies with its “shaky” response to the Russian offensive.

Also on the menu for discussions between Biden and Modi are security in the Asia-Pacific region, the Covid-19 pandemic and the climate crisis, the White House said.

In the Cold War, officially non-aligned India leaned towards the Soviet Union — in part due to US support for arch-rival Pakistan buying its first Russian MiG-21 fighter jets in 1962.

According to experts, Russia remains India’s biggest supplier of major arms and India is also Russia’s largest customer.